wellness

For those shaming Abbie Chatfield, here are 20 women sharing their 'unfiltered' bodies.

On any given day, you’ll notice one thing scrolling through your Instagram feed.

From celebrities and influencers to colleagues and friends, almost every single post has one thing in common. Our social media feeds are filled to the brim with people showcasing the very best parts of themselves.

Here’s four steps to getting a ‘beach body’ that involve you simply taking your body to the… beach. Post continues after video.


Video via Mamamia

Not only are images carefully crafted and photographed. Completely normal parts of us — like cellulite, acne scars, body hair and stretch marks — are edited away.

Waists are shrunk. Cellulite is faded. Post-pregnancy stretch marks are hidden. Pores are blurred. Acne is removed. Teeth are whitened in editing apps. Scars are hidden. Bloating is covered up.

As we all know, unrealistic beauty standards in the form of photoshopped celebrities and influencers is nothing new. From magazine covers to billboard advertisements, we’ve seen it for decades.

On social media, however, with the help of careful posing and countless editing apps, it’s a whole other ball game. And as a result, we now have a completely warped view of what constitutes a ‘normal’ body.

Listen to Mamamia Out Loud, Mamamia’s podcast with what women are talking about this week. Post continues below.

Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule when it comes to sharing ‘real’ bodies on social media. Over the years, more and more women have been going against the grain and sharing ‘real’ photos of their bodies in all their glory.

Earlier this week, in response to trolls who were shaming her for having cellulite, Bachelor In Paradise's Abbie Chatfield shared photos of her stomach, the back of her legs, and thighs.

"Saw a comment on a Bachelor in Paradise promo wondering how anyone would want to kiss me with this much cellulite on my ass," she wrote.

ADVERTISEMENT

"Just wanted to let that person know it isn't just on my ass! Also on my stomach, back of my arms, front of my legs, calves, thighs... normalise cellulite in areas we don't usually see," she continued.

"Oh, and my cellulite has never stopped me from doing anything, not even being a sex-crazed reality TV villain."

Ashley Graham, who is also known as a strong advocate of body positivity, has previously shared photos of her "lumps, bumps and cellulite" with her 11 million Instagram followers.

The model has also shared photos of her post-pregnancy stretch marks, sharing: "Same me. Few new stories."






View this post on Instagram









same me. few new stories.

A post shared by  A S H L E Y G R A H A M (@ashleygraham) on

ADVERTISEMENT

Since the introduction of social media into our daily lives, many of us have faced criticism about the indisputably normal parts of our bodies on some level.

While sometimes that criticism has come from others, in most cases, it has come from ourselves. It comes from a place of shame. A place of not feeling good enough. A place of being conditioned for decades to pinch and squeeze and contort our bodies into an unattainable ideal.

ADVERTISEMENT

It’s for this reason we decided to ask women in our Mamamia community to share a photo of the normally ‘hidden’ parts of their bodies.

The completely normal parts — like cellulite, body hair, scars, thinning hair, acne and more — that so many of us have in common. The parts of ourselves that we so rarely see while scrolling through Instagram.

The women who have shared their photos and thoughts with us are all completely different. There are different ages, different sizes, and different ethnicities. But every single woman in this article has a shared experience of hiding parts of themselves away from the world.

Today, we’re making an effort to share real photos of the things we don’t see on social media. Because most of all, it’s important to remember that women are complex and messy and nobody is perfect.

So, in the hopes of normalising bodies – all bodies, “warts and all” – here are 20 photos of women’s ‘hidden’ parts.

Leonie: “I could visibly see my scalp where my hair started thinning.”

social media body image
Leonie. Image: Supplied.
social media bodyImage: Supplied. image
Leonie. Image: Supplied.
ADVERTISEMENT

"Ten years ago, I lost a whole heap of weight. I didn't feel like I was fixated on my thinness at the time but it felt more like a personal challenge to me to see my number get lower and lower. At the time, I felt empowered and strong but in reality my body was really suffering.

"The thing that affected me most was that my hair started falling out A LOT. I would literally sit at my study table for a few hours and when I got up, there were piles of hair. By the end of the day, there was enough hair to fill up a zip lock bag. It was horrific and it really took a toll on my self esteem. I could visibly see my scalp where my hair started thinning.

"To compensate for the hair loss, I creatively styled my hair by pulling it up and back to cover the hair loss. Some people did comment on this and make fun of it but at the time the most vital thing for me was that no one could tell I had been losing hair.

"I have made many changes to my lifestyle since then, including a healthy and balanced diet, and am now at a more appropriate weight. My hair has never grown back to its original thickness unfortunately, and I still have a lot of hair falling out due to stress and other factors. But I've learnt to accept this and let my hair down because this is the most comfortable for me."

Sophie: "All I can see are the marks on my boobs."

social media body image
Sophie. Image: Supplied.
ADVERTISEMENT

"This is one of my favourite selfies of myself from a wedding I went to a few weeks ago but I can't bring myself to post it to social media because all I can see are the marks on my boobs, which I'm aware is probably ridiculous. I got these marks from breastfeeding my daughter for 18 months, and in reality, I'm probably the only one who would notice them!

"I believe mainstream media and social media has massively affected our perception of what a normal body is."

Milly: "I've always tried to hide my cellulite on my upper thighs and butt."

social media body image
Milly. Image: Supplied.

"As a curvier girl, I've always tried to hide my cellulite on my upper thighs and butt. My photographer sent me this photo of myself a few months ago, and although I've always hated my dimply thighs and butt, I loved this photo and my body in it.

"In the past, I've edited cellulite out of posts but I've started to love this photo, and my body, just as it is."

Megan: "Here is my saggy, stretch-marked stomach."

social media body image
Megan. Image: Supplied.
ADVERTISEMENT

"Here is my saggy, stretch-marked stomach – that was a home for my two babies – in all its glory. It also features a lovely keloid scar from a skin cancer I had removed."

Megan/@meganfromwegan: "I was starting to feel like I was 'deceiving' our followers online by not showing my hand."

 




View this post on Instagram


 

Growing up, I worried that I’d never find love. Or rather, that I’d never find someone who loved me, for me. Not only did I have lower odds to find someone as a femme lesbian who likes femmes, I also thought that my disability to my left hand & arm (#HiHandy) would make me less attractive and stop girls liking me that way. Perhaps that was the case for some, I guess I’ll never know!... I used to day dream about finding a beautiful girl (ideal name would be Amber, I don’t know why!) who would love me even MORE because of Handy. I didn’t really think that would come true. But then I met Whitney in 2008, and slowly but surely she managed to make me realise that Handy is a part of me. A part that shouldn’t be hidden and makes me a better person. ???? ... Plus, years later I found out that Whitney decided to go by Amber one day when she was younger! ???? ... do you believe in coincidences?! . Anyways, this is a big love letter to all of you who don’t accept a part of you and fear it’ll stop you finding the one. It won’t. It’ll just make sure you find the RIGHT one for YOU! ???????? . P.s swipe to see the legend behind me ???? . . . . . #limbdifferenceawareness #limbdifference #disability #disabilityawareness #femmelesbian #lovewins #loveislove #loveisloveislove

A post shared by  Megan Bacon-Evans ????️‍???? (@meganfromwegan) on


"I hid my disability online for a few years. I would do this by posing so that my left hand would naturally be behind someone's back, or posing so that you can't see my left hand and only my right. I would also edit it out of shot in videos. Even now, I still have to purposefully remind myself to try and show my hand in the shot as it's just second nature to hide it.

ADVERTISEMENT

"Back in 2011, I was starting to feel like I was 'deceiving' our followers online by not showing my hand. After watching the film Soul Surfer about Bethany Hamilton, who embraced her life one-handed after a shark attack, that made me feel like I should be more open and honest about it. The decision to show my hand online was a few years in the making thanks to my wonderful wife, Whitney. She has always been so supportive and encouraging about my hand (that I call Handy), that her love enabled me to finally accept and embrace my hand.

"I think it's important to share these hidden parts of us. I was completely blown away by the response that I received to 'coming out' about my hand. I was fine with being out as a lesbian but I knew I wasn't quite strong enough if anyone was going to be mean about my hand. However the response was completely positive and what's more, some of our followers also struggle with accepting their disability and in coming out about mine, I have helped them with theirs! The more I share about it, the more confident I become and I still receive messages regularly about how proud people are to see how far I've come. Ultimately I am proud to be me and if I can help others by doing so, even better."

Caitlin: "The one that I am most self conscious about are the cysts."

social media body image
Caitlin. Image: Supplied.

"I was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) at 14. PCOS has various side effects including unwanted hair, severe acne, and weight management issues but the one that I am most self conscious about are the cysts. I get them under my arms and in sensitive areas. Over the years, it has affected my confidence as they look red and are often painful.

ADVERTISEMENT

"It's really difficult to recognise when social media is affecting your body confidence. I think the age of air brushing and perfecting skin on models makes me feel like I'm the only one going through this, and I will admit that I use air brushing if I can see them in photos. My lack of self-acceptance of these blemishes has also impacted my romantic relationships as I don't want someone to see them and misunderstand what they are.

"Luckily I am surrounded by a network of supportive people including doctors, my friends, and my mum, who help me to realise that I am more than what's on my skin."

Jess: "I refused to smile with my teeth showing."

social media body image
Jess. Image: Supplied.

"Here's me – filter and editing free. For most of my early high school years, I wasted time editing photos of myself for social media. Not only did I refuse to smile with my teeth showing because I was embarrassed about the gap in my teeth, I also blurred my skin, freckles and any imperfections on my face because I didn't think my skin was 'good enough'.

"Thankfully, I eventually realised how much time and energy I was wasting editing photos that quite frankly... looked a little bit ridiculous.

"I feel a million times better sharing photos of myself without editing. There's honestly no point trying to change myself or remove my 'imperfections' for the sake of others."

Natalie: "To this day, any kind of blemish will leave a dark spot on my skin for weeks or even months."

social media body image
Natalie. Image: Supplied.
ADVERTISEMENT

"This is me and my hyper-pigmentation scars from around four years ago. I was on a hike so it was one of the rare times that I would go makeup free. I even used to wear makeup around the house because I was embarrassed about them, so going makeup free on social media was a 100 per cent no-go.

"To this day, any kind of blemish will leave a dark spot on my skin for weeks or even months. Leaving my teens and an improved skincare routine definitely helped my confidence, but what helped the most was a big ol' cliche dose of self love!"

Kim: "I had swollen up like a big balloon."

social media body image
Kim. Image: Supplied.
ADVERTISEMENT

"This is a photo of me and my son just after he was born. It was early January and I had the lactation sweats so I basically roamed around topless with my post-birth rolls out for all at home. I had pre-eclampsia so I had swollen up like a big balloon and I was still very puffy."

Felicity: "I will try to stand side on or suck my stomach."

social media body image
Felicity. Image: Supplied.

"I've felt self conscious about my stomach since I've had children. In photos, I will try to stand side on or suck my stomach in the hope that it doesn't look as obvious to others as I think it does."

Lacey-Jade/@laceyjadechristie: "I spent most of my life trying to hide my stomach from the world."

social media body image
Lacey-Jade. Image: Supplied/Megan van de.
ADVERTISEMENT

"My stomach is and always has been my biggest insecurity. I spent most of my life trying to hide my stomach from the world, whether it was by hugging my handbag when I sat down or wearing flowy dresses.

"Two things changed that for me: a) realising that a capitalist society benefits from making me feel bad about myself, and b) me being proud of my body and sharing that love has the ability to impact other people and the way that they feel about their bodies.

"I share my body, my metal health, my good days and bad days online for the world to see because there is power in story telling and vulnerability. Sharing my world allows me the opportunity to process and grow as a person and gives me a platform to inspire others to live their lives free of societal expectations. It's powerful and liberating.

"It's important to remember that we are not perfect, life is a rollercoaster, you'll have good days and bad and that's life. It's beautiful and perfect and so are you."

Carmel: "They're like battle scars."

social media body image
Carmel. Image: Supplied.

"Weirdly, I didn't have any stretch marks during most of my pregnancy. At some point, they appeared and I still have them so they're like battle scars in a way. My son was born six months ago and it's still weird to look at my tummy and think he was once in there, it's so hard to wrap my head around.

ADVERTISEMENT

"Hearing about women or celebrities who 'bounced back fast' after pregnancy can really make you feel like sh*t. I love Pink in particular because she said she wasn't in a rush top lose weight and she took her time to get fit again."

Andrea: "I try to avoid holding my arms too close to my side because I think they look floppy."

social media body image
Andrea. Image: Supplied.

"I've often tried to hide my tummy folds and my arms in photos. With my arms, I even try to avoid holding them too close to my side because I think they look floppy. But despite that, I think it's so important to see all bodies – 'flaws' and all – on social media."

Alexia/@alexia.eleni: "I used to toss up whether to post a photo or not because of my body shape." 

 




View this post on Instagram


 

This is the real me, both images — but while one part of me really wants to just post the second photo, it wouldn’t be right to not show my body at other angles too. Most of us choose their “flattering” photo instead and that’s perfectly okay because I do it all the time! . We need to be reminded that both flattering and unflattering photos are worth sharing with the world because our bodies are just beautiful moving vessels ???? I’m a strong believer that what we’re exposed to becomes our new normal, so the more we see other people’s realness on social media the more we accept our full selves at all angles! . I’m loving my body for its messy, unflattering, magical self ✨ I’m also loving my @veeunderwear because taking care of yourself starts from your hoo-ha ???? breathable, sustainable & comfortable knickers for the win! #bodypositive #veehappy #realbodies #beautyhasnosize #nomakeup

A post shared by  Alexia, Body Positive Model (@alexia.eleni) on

ADVERTISEMENT


"I definitely felt self conscious when I was younger and social media was just becoming mainstream. In my teens, I had low self esteem as I was always on the 'heavier' side and all of my friends were size eight and 10. I felt that I had to compare myself to them and when Instagram became popular, it just got worse as I felt I had more people to compare my body to. I used to toss up whether to post a photo or not because of my body shape or the angle the photo was taken on (or because my hip dips/slight rolls/chins/cellulite were showing).

"It took me a long time to gain confidence and with help from the body positive movement, I've been able to not only accept my body but love it as well – and try to spread the message of self love to other young women.

"I still have those days where I feel like nothing looks good because I feel bloated or I have my period. It's not so much an effort to hide parts, but to accentuate the areas I like about myself more than others. But there are definitely more days now that I love my little belly than hate it and that's progress for me absolutely.

"I think the more we share about what society says should be our 'flaws' or 'insecurities' the more we control the narrative online and the way women should feel about their bodies. Rather than letting someone who profits off our insecurities tell us how we should look or feel, we should be sharing our uniquely shaped bodies and spread awareness that YES there are people who look like me and YES they are beautiful! Stretch marks, bloat, cellulite, pimples, it's all natural and gorgeous because we are alive to actually experience these things. I think it's all about perspective and gratitude for our bodies and what we put them through. Keep sharing, keep being open, keep spreading the normal everyday realness!"

Anonymous: "These scars show some of what I have been through."

social media body imagesocial media body image

ADVERTISEMENT

"I recently (and nervously) shared a photo with a friend for a project she is doing for a good cause. This is my first time baring it all with anyone. I am a domestic violence survivor, I am a sexual assault survivor, I am a chronic illness survivor and these scars show some of what I have been through.

"I have children, I have lost children. I had cervical cancer before 30 and a hysterectomy before 30 (as well as endometriosis). The list of my body scars goes on. To me, these photos – and my scars – tell my life story."

Anonymous: "I always hide my dimpy thighs and bum".

social media body image

ADVERTISEMENT

"I always hide my dimpy thighs and bum. I hate wearing a swimsuit or any type of thinner clothing where you can see it. I even refuse to wear white jeans."

Jada: "I'm slowly coming around to loving myself more make-up free, filter free, tan free."

social media body image

"This is me – make-up free. I'm slowly coming around to loving myself more make-up free, filter free, tan free and I'm getting more confident at letting those stretch marks and bloated belly out there!"

Pho: "I'm flaunting them and celebrating them!"

social media body image

ADVERTISEMENT

"I went into premature labour with my daughter, Eli, at just 24 weeks. I've always been self conscious about the cellulite on my legs but after years of body image issues and welcoming two kids – I'm flaunting them and celebrating them!"

Tam: "I always airbrush my body. "

body image
Tam. Image: Supplied.

"I always airbrush my body. I have an app that lets me make my arms skinnier, make my waist smaller, and even make my legs longer. This is the first photo I ever photoshopped with that app. In the photoshopped version, I made my arms thinner, made my waist smaller and stretched the bottom half of the photo to make my legs look longer. This is the unedited version."

ADVERTISEMENT

Clare/@clare.stephenss: "I've always had this weird dimple on the top of my thigh."

social media body image
Clare. Image: Supplied.

Clare/@clare.stephenss"Since I was 18, no matter how much exercise I'm doing or how well I'm eating, I've always had this weird dimple on the top of my thigh. It's almost like a dent... and it makes me super uncomfortable when I'm in my swimmers because I feel like everyone's staring at me and judging me for not being toned. I've even shown it to a doctor to see if there's something wrong with me, but she said it was just the distribution of fat.

"I never share photos of myself in my swimmers or in really short shorts because I'm self conscious about this dent, but I'm trying to just accept it as a part of me that isn't going to change. So here it is! My weird left thigh, for the world to see."

Feature Image: Supplied.

For more on this topic:

This post was originally published on March 5, 2020, and updated on June 30, 2020.

For help and support for eating disorders, contact the Butterfly Foundation‘s National Support line and online service on 1800 ED HOPE (1800 33 4673) or email [email protected]. You can also visit their website,  here.  


Sign up for the "Mamamia Daily" newsletter. Get across the stories women are talking about today.



00:00 / ???